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Last reviewed on 30 November 2017
Ref: 30664
School types: All · School phases: All

Can pupils be withdrawn from RE lessons? We relay guidance on parents' right to withdraw their children from religious education (RE), religious worship in school or trips to places of worship. We also look at schools' duty to provide alternative education for pupils withdrawn from RE.

Parental right to withdraw children from RE

Maintained schools

A parent of a pupil at a maintained school can request that their child is wholly or partly excused from:

  • Receiving RE given in the school in accordance with the school’s basic curriculum
  • Attendance at religious worship in the school

The school must grant such requests.

The right of parents to withdraw their children from religious education (RE) lessons is set out in section 71(1) of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, in paragraph 1.

School Standards and Framework Act 1998: regulation 71, legislation.gov.uk

Academies

Parents of children in academies also have the right to withdraw their children from RE and/or collective worship.

This is set out in Department for Education (DfE) guidance on RE in academies. The guidance, though still current, is hosted on the National Archives.

This is also set out in the DfE's model

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